* Former Tar Heel Jonathan Holmes, now playing pro ball in England for the Leicester Riders, provided Inside Carolina another update on his rookie season overseas --
"Things over here are still going well for the most part. As a team we have been struggling as of late, and we are currently four games out of the last playoff spot. However, we still have quite a few games remaining before the end of the regular season. Individually speaking, I had my season high of 14 points [hitting 4-of-7 three-pointers] to go along with 4 assists and 3 steals two weekends ago in a loss at the Birmingham Bullets (1-18).
"We have a big weekend coming up with games against two of the league's top teams, the Sheffield Sharks (16-2) and the London Towers (11-8), so hopefully we can defend our home court and score a couple wins.
"I hope all is well back in Chapel Hill. I have been following as closely as possible the progress of the Heels, and it sounds like it has been an exciting season thus far."
Holmes joined the Riders (3-16) in mid-December and is in the middle of a 36-game schedule that runs through April 11.
In seven British Basketball League games, Holmes is averaging 5.4 points, 3.6 assists and 26.7 minutes per game. He has 10 steals, 14 turnovers, six rebounds and had connected on 9-of-16 three-point attempts (56.3% - 2nd).
Following the Heels 68-66 win over NC State last week, Holmes relayed the following anecdote.
"I was watching the game with some of my teammates, and they were asking me about guarding Raymond in practice. I believe it was right after that steal and dunk ... I just told them that they have no idea!"
STARRING VINCE CARTER
* For the fourth time, Vince Carter (Toronto Raptors) has led all NBA players in all-star votes, after being named on 2,127,183 fan ballots for the Eastern Conference squad. That ties Carter for second all-time in finishing first in the voting with Julius Erving. Michael Jordan was tops in all-star voting nine times.
Carter's selection for the 2004 NBA All-Star game on February 15 in Los Angeles will be his fifth consecutive all-star appearance.
WILLIAMS PICKED UP BY DALLAS
* After being released by Phoenix and clearing waivers, former Tar Heel and 14-year NBA veteran Scott Williams is now with the Dallas Mavericks. "It got a little hairy at the end with Miami," Williams told the Dallas News.
Williams credited his agent and Phoenix GM Brian Colangelo with dissuading the Miami Heat from claiming him off waivers. "They told Miami if they claimed me, I wasn't going to report and would start coaching for the Suns," Williams said. That cleared the way for Williams to get back on the court and in the playoff picture with Dallas.
FEBRUARY TAR HEEL BIRTHDAYS ...
Melvin Scott: 2/3 (22) ... Steve Hale: 2/3 (40) ... John Kuester: 2/6 (49) ... Mike O'Koren: 2/7 (46) ... Jessica Sell: 2/9 (20) ... Steve Previs: 2/9 (54) ... Phil Ford: 2/9 (48) ... Tom LaGarde: 2/10 (49) ... Orlando Melendez: 2/14 (25) ... Michael Jordan: 2/17 (41) ... Scott Cherry: 2/18 (33) ... Jawad Williams: 2/19 (21) ... Lee Shaffer: 2/23 (65) ... Donald Williams: 2/24 (31) ... Matt Doherty: 2/25 (42) ... David Noel: 2/27 (20) ... James Worthy: 2/27 (43) ... Sylvia Hatchell: 2/28 (52) ... Dean Smith: 2/28 (73) ...
(Photo by David Wearn, courtesy of ridersbasketball.com)